Shops are opposed to government measures regarding the selling of cigarettes, which are expected to be announced today.
Coinciding with national No Smoking Day, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is set to unveil a number of new regulations concerning the way cigarettes should be stocked in shops nationwide.
An announcement will be made later this morning and could result in a ban on displaying tobacco products in shops altogether or items having to be sold in plain, unbranded packaging.
James Lowman, CEO of the Association of Convenience Stores, told Retail Gazette that the group opposes such measures, but is hopeful that this speculation will be put to bed when Lansley speaks later on.
“There is no evidence to suggest that hiding cigarettes under the counter will help reduce the number of smokers in the UK, but regulations like these will add significantly to retailers’ costs in terms of store design,” he explained.
As for the potential change in packaging rules, which could result in products displaying nothing but a health warning, it is a case of moving into the unknown.
Lowman said: “The effect of plain packaging is even more unclear as it has not been tried anywhere in the world.
“But if implemented, this rule is sure to cause a number of operational problems for UK retailers.”